I've been on a midwife-story kick lately, so I was thrilled to be asked to participate in the book blog tour for "The Midwife's Tale" by Sam Thomas.
Publication Date: January 8, 2013 | Minotaur Books | 320p
In the tradition of Arianna Franklin and C. J. Sansom comes Samuel Thomas’s remarkable debut, The Midwife’s Tale.
It is 1644, and Parliament’s armies have risen against the King and laid siege to the city of York. Even as the city suffers at the rebels’ hands, midwife Bridget Hodgson becomes embroiled in a different sort of rebellion. One of Bridget’s friends, Esther Cooper, has been convicted of murdering her husband and sentenced to be burnt alive. Convinced that her friend is innocent, Bridget sets out to find the real killer.
Bridget joins forces with Martha Hawkins, a servant who’s far more skilled with a knife than any respectable woman ought to be. To save Esther from the stake, they must dodge rebel artillery, confront a murderous figure from Martha’s past, and capture a brutal killer who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks. The investigation takes Bridget and Martha from the homes of the city’s most powerful families to the alleyways of its poorest neighborhoods. As they delve into the life of Esther’s murdered husband, they discover that his ostentatious Puritanism hid a deeply sinister secret life, and that far too often tyranny and treason go hand in hand.
This book is absolutely fascinating. Sam Thomas has created an intriguing historical fiction with a thrilling mystery threaded throughout that is certain to keep readers on the edges of their seats to the very end.
This story, told through the voice of midwife Lady Bridget Hodgson, is captivating and fast-paced. The characters are full-bodied, with personalities that endear and charm the reader. I loved how Lady Hodgson is no weak woman to be fooled with - she is smart, creative, and confident in both her work and her life. I would love to see more stories about this brave lady.
Writing about a woman's world must have been an interesting challenge for the author, but Sam Thomas does so with great dignity and authenticity. He takes you right into the world of the 17th century, with all it's gritty messiness and plunks you right down into the middle of the surroundings with his descriptive writing style.
I very much enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend it to fans of historical fiction, historical who-dun-its, and, if you are like me, fans of midwife stories.
Sam Thomas is an assistant professor of history at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Newberry Library, and the British Academy. He has published articles on topics ranging from early modern Britain to colonial Africa. Thomas lives in Alabama with his wife and two children.
Be sure to check out Sam's website at http://samthomasbooks.com/ - it is crammed full of facts about the book, the characters and about midwivery!
Link to Tour Schedule: http://www.hfvirtualbooktours.com/2012/11/sam-thomas-on-tour-for-midwifes-tale.html
Check out this book trailer for the book:
My thanks to Historical Fiction Virtual Tours for including me on this tour, and to the author for the review copy. I was not compensated for my opinion.